Yesterday, I started thinking about the aspects of fundraising that really motivate me. You know, the things that I find professionally and personally satisfying and that keep me coming back for more, even in the face of complaints or rejections. It takes a lot of no’s to get to a yes, so you’ve got to really feel passionate to hang in there with a non-profit that relies on raising money to pay its bills.
To recap from yesterday, here are the first five things I love about fundraising:
- I get to help others
- I get a chance to network with other professionals in my field
- I love the challenge of creating a plan that works from start to finish
- I get a chance to find new ways to solve problems
- I make it a personal challenge to improve on last year’s money total
Today, I have five more terrific aspects of fundraising to write about.
6. No matter what non-profit organization I’ve worked for, one of my greatest joys has been getting new volunteers involved in the stewardship of the group. For most non-profits, volunteers are the life-blood of the organization, and if new people aren’t continually coming forward to lend a hand, the non-profit is in trouble. Therefore, when I can recruit and train new volunteer workers, I know I am ensuring the long-term stability of my organization.
7. There is yet another very cool aspect to volunteerism that gets me excited about non-profit work, and that’s when I see volunteers stick around for a while and take on more responsibility. I’ve worked with numerous volunteers who have started out doing very basic (yet necessary) tasks, like folding fliers and stuffing them into envelopes and then with time, they move on to making phone calls on behalf of the organization or even planning major portions of fundraising events. Not only are these folks helping our non-profit tremendously, they are also improving their own skills and bolstering their self-confidence by taking on new tasks.
8. One of the side benefits of running a successful fundraiser that gets public attention is that it gives us the opportunity to put our organization’s name out there in a positive light. Regardless of the fundraising method, we have the chance to introduce ourselves to potential new clients and donors, we can distribute information about our services, and we can highlight all the good work we’ve done for the community in the past. I never pass up the opportunity to hand a person a brochure when they hand me a check!
9. Over the years, I’ve come to realize that one of the most effective ways to raise money is to be smarter about how we spend the money we already have. So, whenever I approach a new fundraising project, I want to find ways to be more efficient with the use of our financial resources. Whether that means finding donors for things we paid for in the past or finding cheaper forms of marketing that are even more effective than our paid advertising, I want to save a buck. That’s a challenge these days, when we’ve been trying to be frugal for the past few years. There’s only so much you can cut, but I still love the challenge!
10. The last item I’ll mention in this list of things I love about fundraising is that, for the most part, I think it’s a lot of fun. It’s a chance to work with people you like and who are all committed to the same mission. I love the human interaction and the relationships that are built over time. I’ve never worked on a fundraiser where there wasn’t a whole lot of laughing going on behind the scenes.
Photo by: Micah Sittig’s photostream